The Pixel Project Inspirational Interview with NIWRC & SHNH’s Caroline LaPorte (Part 1 of 2)

This past December, the Pixel Project approached the StrongHearts Native Helpline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center on doing an in-depth inspirational interview with Caroline LaPorte (Senior Native Affairs Advisor). The 10 questions were broken up into a two-part series.

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women through campaigns, initiatives, projects, and programmes at the intersection of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. We are a worldwide coalition of grassroots activists and volunteers who strongly believe that men and women must take a stand together for the right of women and girls to live a life free of gender-based violence. Our team, our allies, and our supporters use the power of the internet to mount a global effort to raise awareness about and hopefully mobilise communities around the world to get involved with ending violence against girls and women.

  1. How and why did you join the movement to end violence against women (VAW) and how did you come to work with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)?

When I started thinking about why I wanted to attend law school, I knew it was to ultimately end up in federal Indian law and policy.  But it was not until I worked in a human rights clinic that focused on gender justice that I realised how integral the anti-violence aspect of this work would become with regards to my own identity. I was a victim of stalking and sexual assault myself, but I had not envisioned going into this field when I was starting out. Now that I am here, I feel that I have found my sisters and that we are doing work we can all be proud of. This work is an incredible responsibility and we all share in that obligation. I look at my position as an opportunity to be a steward of the good work that has always been done in this space, and I take the weight of that very seriously.

  1. NIWRC’s mission is to “support and uphold grassroots advocacy by creating and enhancing the capacity of Native communities to end gender based violence through technical assistance, education, public awareness and policy development”. How did NIWRC come to be founded and what your approach is to stopping violence against Native women and girls?

Until violence against Native women is eradicated, there will always be a need for a National Resource Center that specialises in gender-based violence from a tribal perspective and with tribal expertise. It is a truly unique area of both law and policy and of the domestic violence movement. We were created specifically to fill that role. Primarily, NIWRC enhances the capacity of American Indian and Alaska Native (Native) tribes, Native Hawaiians, and tribal and Native Hawaiian organisations to respond to all forms of gender-based violence.

Our approach in this work strictly centers on restoring safety to Native women by upholding the sovereignty of Indian and Alaska Native tribes. We seek to achieve this mission in partnership first with Indian nations, but also with national partners, Native organisations, nonprofit tribal/state coalitions, domestic violence advocates, survivors and various federal agencies. But again, our primary goal is to make sure that a sovereignty framework is applied to the response to gender-based violence in tribal communities. If you think about the root causes of violence in Indian Country, which are genocide and colonisation, the remedy to that is to restore to what was taken from us… our sovereign ability to respond as sovereigns.

READ: The the rest of part 1 Inspirational Interview here: